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Among Returning Series So Far This Season, 'Grey's Anatomy' Stands Alone in Demo

10/12/2012 02:48:52 PM Eastern

Nielsen
broadcast primetime ratings for the first two weeks of the new season show that
ABC's veteran medical drama Grey's Anatomy is the only returning series
that is up in the 18-49 audience demo, increasing its rating by 5% to a
4.1 from a 3.9 during the same period last season.

CBS' hit sitcom The
Big Bang Theory
(4.9), Fox's long-running animated series The
Simpsons
(3.4) and CBS second-year drama Person of Interest
(2.9) each have the same 18-49 rating through two weeks compared to last
season's first two weeks. Every other returning primetime series has seen
its 18-49 audience decline compared to last season.

Grey's and Big Bang are the only two
series that have averaged more viewers over the first two episodes than last
season. Grey's has averaged 11.2 million viewers, up 8%, while Big Bang has averaged 15.4 million
viewers, up 6%.

ABC sitcom Modern Family has the highest 18-49
rating among returning fall series with a 5.1, but that is down 13% from last
season.

Rounding out the
Top 20 after Modern Family, Big Bang and Grey's in the
18-49 demo, with the percentage of decrease over the first two weeks of last
season, are: NCIS (CBS), 3.9, down 9%; 2 Broke Girls (CBS), 3.6, down 38%; Two and a
Half Men
(CBS), 3.5, down 61%; The Simpsons (Fox), 3.4, flat; The
X Factor
Wednesday (Fox), 3.4, down 19%; How I Met Your Mother
(CBS), 3.4, down 26%; Family Guy (Fox), 3.4, down 10%; NCIS: LA
(CBS), 3.2, down 11%; The X Factor Thursday (Fox), 3.2, down 24%; Criminal Minds (CBS), 3.1, down 24%; Survivor
(CBS), 3.0, down 6%; Person of Interest (CBS), 2.9, flat; Revenge (ABC),
2.9, down 3%; New Girl (Fox), 2.8, down 40%; The Middle (ABC),
2.7, down 10%; 60 Minutes (CBS), 2.6, down 10%; Amazing Race
(CBS), 2.6, down 16%; and CSI (CBS) 2.5, down 19%.

There are some
reasons that a few of the returning series showed such sizable declines. The
premiere episode of Two and a Half Men last season marked the debut for
Ashton Kutcher and drew over 27 million viewers. The series has also moved to
Thursday night from Monday, although it now leads out of Big Bang, which offers a larger lead-in
audience. 2 Broke Girls last season led out of the premiere of Two
and a Half Men
which accounts for its big decline over the first two weeks
of this season.

Other returning
series showing sizable 18-49 ratings declines include Glee (Fox), down
34% to a 2.5; Dancing With the Stars Monday (ABC), down 38% to a 2.3; Dancing
With the Stars
Tuesday results show, down 28% to a 2.1; Castle (ABC),
down 33% to a 2.0; Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), down 42% to a 1.9; The
Mentalist
(CBS), down 33% to a 1.8; and The Good Wife (CBS), down
18% to a 1.8.

Dancing With
the Stars
is way down
because it is going head to head this fall with the NBC singing competition hit
The Voice, which did not air last fall. Glee, which led off
Tuesday nights for Fox last fall, is now airing on Thursday nights at 9 and has
a strong lead-in with The X Factor and should be doing better. Both Castle
and Hawaii Five-0 are facing new and stronger competition on Monday
nights at 10 from NBC's freshman sci-fi drama Revolution.

Freshman series
18-49 ratings through the first two weeks of the season are: Revolution
(NBC), 3.4; Elementary (CBS), 2.8; Go On (NBC), 2.4; Vegas
(CBS), 2.3; Partners (CBS), 2.3; The Mindy Project (Fox), 2.2; Last
Resort
(ABC), 2.1; The New Normal (NBC), 1.9; 666 Park Avenue
(ABC), 1.9; Ben & Kate (Fox), 1.8; Guys With Kids (NBC), 1.6;
Animal Practice (NBC), 1.4; Mob Doctor (Fox), 1.2; and the
recently canceled Made in Jersey (CBS), 0.9.

ABC's freshman
sitcom Neighbors premiered in a special time period leading out of Modern
Family
and drew a 3.2 rating, but moved to its regular time slot the
following week and got a 1.9.

Freshman series'
average viewership figures through the first two weeks include: Vegas,
13.4 million; Elementary, 12.2 million; Revolution, 9.2 million; LastResort, 8.6 million; Made in Jersey, 7.2 million; Go On,
6.3 million; Partners, 6.1 million; 666 Park Avenue, 5.9 million; Guys With Kids, 4.8 million; Animal
Practice,
4.8 million; The New Normal, 4.7 million; Ben &
Kate,
3.7 million; and Mob Doctor, 3.6 million.

ABC's Neighbors
drew 9.2 million leading out of the premiere episode of Modern Family,
which drew 15.5 million. But in its second week in its regular time period, Neighbors
drew 6.3 million viewers.

Overall, the
broadcast ratings through two weeks are disappointing for all networks but NBC.
Based on Nielsen ratings data, ABC, CBS and Fox are all down in 18-49 demo
ratings by more than 20% and are also down double-digits in viewers over the
same period last season. NBC is the only one of the Big Four to garner
increases during the first two weeks with its 18-49 demo rating up 11% to a 3.0
and its viewership up 9% to an average 8.2 million per night.

While some media
outlets are already lauding NBC for its ratings turnaround, a closer look at
the Nielsen numbers show the backslap may be a bit premature. According to
Nielsen numbers, NBC's ratings gains are primarily the result of its airing two
nights of The Voice this fall, which was not on the schedule last fall.

Through the
first two weeks of the season, NBC's hit singing competition series has
averaged 12.3 million viewers and a 4.5 18-49 rating on Monday, and 10 million
viewers on Tuesday with a 3.6 18-49 rating. Last season, during the first two
weeks, NBC aired The Sing-Off on Monday nights which averaged only about
4.6 million viewers and a 1.5 18-49 rating and The Biggest Loser on
Tuesday nights which drew about 5.7 million viewers and a 2.2 18-49 rating.

Taking the
network's top-rated series from midseason last year and giving it a double airing
this fall certainly counts in the ratings battle, but it's not the same as NBC
coming up with a bunch of new hits-at least not yet.

NBC's freshman
sci-fi series Revolution has been winning its Monday time period against
two veteran dramas but sci-fi series have a history of starting strong on the
broadcast networks and tailing off as the season goes on. Of course, Revolution
could be one of the exceptions. Among NBC's freshman sitcoms, only one of
the four, Go On, is averaging more than a 2.0 18-49 rating through the
first two weeks of the official season. A special telecast of Animal Practice
during NBC's Olympic coverage hasn't jump-started that series. It is averaging
4.8 million viewers and a 1.4 18-49 rating.

NBC's returning shows
and other freshman series have not jumped out to any kind of exceptional
starts. Ratings for drama series such as Law & Order: SVU and Parenthood
are down compared to early last season, as are ratings for returning sitcoms The
Office, Up
All Night and Parks and Recreation.

So NBC, while
getting some positive press at this early juncture, still has a long way to go-unless
several new shows catch on.

NBC also faces
the situation of having to fill four Sunday primetime hours once Sunday
Night Football
ends its run at the end of December. Just to show how
important SNF is to NBC's overall
ratings, if you eliminate the SNF
ratings this season, NBC's average viewership in primetime falls from 8.2
million to 6.2 million and it's 18-49 rating drops from 3.0 to 2.1. That's a
lot of viewership and ratings the network has to replace come January.

Here's how the networks
themselves stack up for the first two weeks of viewership, and the percentage
of increase or decrease: CBS, 10.3 million, down 13%; NBC, 8.2 million, up 9%;
ABC, 7.9 million, down 13%; Fox, 5.4 million, down 28%; Univision, 3.5 million,
down 5%; and The CW, 850,000, down 53%.

Among 18-49
ratings, NBC, at a 3.0, is up 11%; CBS, 2.3, is down 25%; ABC, 2.1, down 20%;
Fox, 2.1, down 28%; Univision, 1.4, down 12%; and The CW stands at a 0.3, down
62%.

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